December 4th, 2013
After originally announcing plans to reopen in time for the holiday season, Pearl Ultralounge at Ala Moana Center will now remain closed for good.
“It is with heavy heart and utter disappointment in the system that I … inform you that Pearl will not be reopening,” Pearl general manager and managing partner Mike Norton wrote in a Facebook update posted on Tuesday, Dec. 3. “On July 31, we were forced to close our business due to water damage and subsequent mold intrusion in many areas of Pearl and in the air conditioning ducting.”
When the closure was first made public, a spokesperson for Pearl said it was "just time to reinvent the brand" and that the club's owners wanted to "bring Pearl up to what's current in today's market and refresh for the next generation of Honolulu party people.”
Within days, however, a lawsuit was filed in federal court that claims "improper drainage, defective or deteriorated floor seals, clogged drains or clogged piping" by upstairs tenant Romano's Macaroni Grill caused more than $1 million in damages to Pearl and resulted in the presence of stachybotrys, also known as "toxic black mold."
At the time, a spokesperson for Macaroni Grill said the restaurant chain was "obviously not responsible for the upkeep of Pearl's facilities" and denied knowledge of any excessive moisture problem.
In addition, Pearl claimed losses of more than $350,000 per month in gross income and expenses due to the closure. According to Norton, repairs have yet to begin. The case is scheduled to go to trial next year.
“The water damage and mold remediation has not begun due to the high cost to do so,” Norton wrote. “Because of this, the landlord has decided to take back the space.
“It is unfortunate, and I feel for my employees who are in no way at fault and have given of themselves tirelessly and with dedication. I am eternally grateful to each of them, value them as my greatest asset, and hate to lose such a great team.”
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.